A long time ago, my grandparents built a shack out at Fullerton Cove, out of nowhere, pretty much out of nothing, and made it a home. To me… That’s what being a Novocastrian is all about. Last week I read a piece that, as a Novocastrian, really rubbed me the wrong way. As a journalist I really appreciating writing, and of course opinion, but when it comes to my town, I have to admit, I’m pretty biased. So… Here is an open letter, a guide if you will, for those who are thinking of moving to Newcastle to ‘live the dream’ and call Newy home.
Hi, Hello, how are you, G’day and thank you for choosing Newcastle or Newy (as it is so affectionately known) as your new home. By now you’re probably knee deep in research wondering just what you might be walking into, as you take the jump to our (not so) small town. Newcastle, in itself, is about community. How do you like to spend your weekends? Is sport your thing? As proud as we are of our footy team, our sense of community continues to exist outside of the winter months. It’s taking the kids to Nippers bright and early on a weekend morning, to feel joy as you gaze out at a sea of bobbing bright caps spattering the ocean with eager, sporadic colour. It’s fighting for a park and braving the onslaught of whistles on Union street, or catching a glimpse as your favourites ‘fly by’ at the back of the University.
Last week I read a piece that, as a Novocastrian, really rubbed me the wrong way.I’m going to level with you here and I will be up front about one non-negotiable. The beach is something we are, and rightly so, very proud of. “The best in Australia”, you’ll often hear a proud Novocastrian exclaim. But which piece of sun soaked sand are they referring to I hear you ask? Is it Stocko, or Newy, or (my personal favourite) Nobbys? Or wait… is it Merewether, Dixon Park, or Bar Beach? Maybe you’ve descended down a watery set of rickety rock stairs and found a deep blue hidden paradise, with views as far as the eye can see backed by a wall of waves colliding with the sunset. Or perhaps your lust for picturesque horizons is sheltered from the power of the ocean, as you dream of strolling along the foreshore at any hour, watching the backbone of our city sail by.
Maybe live music is, quite literally, your jam. Will you catch a jazz set at the Grand Hotel, or see the best local acts cutting their teeth at the Hamilton Station or the Lass O’Gowrie? Or even opt to catch the headliners sweep through town at the Cambridge hotel?
All of this activity has you working up an appetite I hear you say? Well… Newcastle is also the all-day breakfast at the Embassy Café, a burger and bare foot bowls at Lowlands, strolling on Darby Street searching for coffee or the ever eclectic nick-knack. It’s early morning meetings fuelled by caffenation, and late night date night in secret bars.
Now, despite unpopular belief, we aren’t all barefoot and shirtless doing our shopping.
Now, despite unpopular belief, we aren’t all barefoot and shirtless doing our shopping. Novocastrians run businesses, schedule meetings, work the grind at the Courthouse, University and Local Council. Each and every one, proud and passionate about local produce and product, striving for perfection. Whether this be at Pacific Park, or Clock Tower, Hunting and Gathering or for the traditionalists, the Farmers Market. We work hard, always have and always will. Whether this be coal, freight, shipping, industry or farming.
It’s the traditional, mixing with the new. It’s history, colliding with progress.Now I know there are a lot of nicknames to get your head around, never fear, because as a town we are more than adding ‘o’ or ‘y’ to the end of our suburbs and a crumpled handful of parking fines. But what are we really all about? Living in Newcastle that is. It’s an afternoon stroll on the breakwall, or patting other people’s dogs on horseshoe beach. It’s renting a run down, very crammed terrace house because you can’t help but want to be close to the ocean. It’s being loyal to your local happy hour. It’s Carols at King Edward Park. It’s finding a short cut home at 3am, after stumbling out of a secret bar. It’s relying on a neighbour. It’s walking someone safely home. It’s the traditional, mixing with the new. It’s history, colliding with progress. It’s the “I remember when” and the “I wonder what they will do next”. Newcastle is having fun, relaxed, spontaneous adventures, exploring edges and finding your tribe. It’s never ever going down the street without running into someone you know, it’s the six degrees of separation and it’s for families, blood relation or otherwise. It’s fighting for what you believe in, being passionate, proud and embracing community. And most of all… It’s welcoming, people like you.
So to you, potential neighbour, make the jump. We’d love to have you.
If it's on in Newcastle, it's on Newcastle Live